30 April 2014

Random Drafts

Swistle did this when she was converting her blog over to another site.  As she went through her posts, she posted some of the the random drafts that were languishing around.  I think this is a brilliant idea, as many of hers are, and I'm borrowing it.

Here are some of my unfinished drafts:

This House is Clean
I've mentioned before that the building I work in is 100 years old.  It's always been a YWCA so I can't even begin to guess how many people have been through those doors.  It's always been a residence but it has also been a public swimming pool and public kitchen.  It was built to provide single women a place to live or spend time off the streets of the Wild West days of early Bellingham.

There has been mentions of ghosts and sounds and closing of doors since I started here.  I take it in stride because that stuff doesn't bother me. Also: 100 year old building.  I don't get to be bothered by such things and work here.  Someone said once that I work in a museum and I found that to be quite apt.

No title
I'm still on strike over camping at the racetrack because I'm 44 years old and that seems ridiculous. (the camping and the 44 years old thing, both equally ridiculous) So, I came home alone one night and both of us one night.  I like to drive so the trip back and forth is a treat for me. Crossing the border doesn't bother me at all.  I just have a book in case I ever get stuck in a back-up.  Some of the border guards say "Welcome Home" when we come back and it's strangely very nice to hear.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Just a link:
I meant to wax poetically about the city I work in.  Read this instead.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Phone Dependency:
After last year's adventure, having my phone with me has become such a habit that it's beginning to bother me. I don't like being that person that is constantly checking their phone or panicking because they can't find it.

But after nearly a year of having it constantly on my person so if I had trouble I could call, it has sadly become like a pacifier.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Just a list (some of which I *think* I wrote about and was originally intended as a recap of our Vegas trip..two years ago):
Schizophrenic or Bluetooth?
Forced to watch commercials (no dvr in the hotel)
Discussion of war (Arab Spring was starting and we were traveling with an international businessman friend)
Grand Canyon (I know I wrote about this)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

No Title (but two Christmases ago)
It's strangely quiet here today. After a day of chaos including six kids under eleven and eleven adults, I imagine an airport would seem quiet in comparison.

After stating that the truck repairs and new television were our presents this year, we both failed miserably at being grown-ups and re-enacted Gifts of the Magi. I am writing this on a Nook HD+ ( not quite a tablet but more than an e-reader) while listening to enhanced sound on the new television, courtesy of Kevin's new sound system.

Why, yes, we are both youngest children. Why do you ask?

Kid highlights:
We had one of the boy littles this year for present opening. Coincidentally, he and Kevin were both in full-OCD mode as they disposed of each wrapping after carefully inspecting each present then stashing it away in the assigned box.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 I Want to Date:
Boys of this generation.

(that's it.  I know where I was headed. It was about how enlightened and verbal and more open boys are these days compared to the guys when I was young. One hundred and ten years ago.)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My Therapy is in a Grocery Store

I like to shop at the high-end grocery store when I only need a few items. For instance, their produce is remarkably better so I often stock up there. And their baked goods...mmmm....I can justify spending a little more when it's only a few items.

My first outing after throwing myself down the stairs was physical therapy.  It felt odd to be out in the world again after months of going nowhere and seeing no one other than family.  It was almost overwhelming. 

I had decided that if physical therapy went well, I would use a coffee gift card that was given to me at work prior to said stair adventure.  This store also has a coffee stand within it's walls. I know, it's nearly perfect.

The nice thing about this grocery store is that parking is close, level, and well-maintained.  As is the inside of the grocery store.  It's quieter and less people so one doesn't have to worry that you're limping and using the cart as a walker.

So, this store became my therapy.  I would stop and pick up a little something-something and do as much walking as I could stand after a doctor's appointment or therapy.

Well, it's become a habit now.  Even if I only need grapes and muffins, which are on the same side of the store and nearest the parking lot, I still walk slowly around the store as if touring a museum or flower garden.

It's not like I'm particularly interested in much of anything beyond the basics in a food store but that being said the music is always good.  The entry always has the most lovely flowers and plants and Christmas trees so it's like walking through a garden.

What more could a girl ask for from  therapy?  Baked goods, good music, pretty flowers, and coffee.

23 April 2014

Treasure Hunt

I grew up on a lake.  This sound glamorous and makes me sound like a rich kid but I really, really wasn't.  It was a tiny, two and a half bedroom, one bathroom cabin.  While it had its benefits, it certainly had its downfalls as well.  (being far away, relatively, from town, no kids in the neighborhood in the winters are two of the major childhood complaints)

We went out to the lake for my mother's birthday last weekend.  Family gatherings are always awkward and stilted and I dread them.  It was a little better with my dad's passing...go figure the absence of an alcoholic improves things...but it's still just weird.

Kevin decided to bring Lucy with us, which provided a natural respite from the awkwardness.  We took her down to the water and let her sniff, sniff, sniff, and explore.  This seemed to resonate with me as well because the next thing I knew I was looking for rocks to skip.  Being a lake kid, I nearly immediately reverted back to looking for treasures.

While looking for rocks to skip, I found not only my childhood but many treasures. I found two baby clam shells, a snail shell (also tiny), an oyster shell, fossilized wood, and two agates.  My inner six-year-old is over the moon with joy.  Kevin, meanwhile, is wondering what I'm going to do with this junk.  I'm not sure why but I felt compelled to keep these lovely items.

I Dream of Running

Two weeks ago was the 2 year anniversary of falling down the stairs.  In some ways, it feels so long ago and in others, it feels five minutes ago.  Sometimes it takes on a surreal feeling, as if it happened but it couldn't have been as bad as all that. (oh, but it was)

I've found, now that a few months have passed to absorb the information, that the disability rating of 9% is pretty accurate. I'm slowly coming around to the fact that it just IS and there isn't much to be done about it.  Yes, I know: DUH.

Let's play Shiny Side: Working part-time is required and I have a forever excuse to sit down.
Shiny Side for right now:  I get to wear sneakers forever!  My inner teenager is celebrating.
Not Shiny Side:  Cold weather.  However, it occurs to me that I will just become one of those little old ladies that spends winters in Arizona or Florida so this could also be in the Shiny Side Category.

Someone mentioned the other day that "You can't even tell anything happened!"  Kevin replied, without even thinking, "Yes you can.  She just hides it well." Um, thanks?
I also don't know how to respond when people ask.  I usually try for a non-committal "It's still there..." or "Getting better every day".  On one level, I'm tired of it being A Thing.  On another level I just want to be brutally honest and say "It sucks often, thanks for asking"

What I do find interesting is that I dream of running.  I dream that I can and that I do.  In my dreams I can run to the car or even *gasp* go running on purpose.  It's just like the amputees say: you dream that you're able bodied.  (this is where I say I am in no way on the same level as those brave folks)
Anyone who knows me in reals knows that I would only run if I was on fire and being chased by wolves and even then it's a strong maybe.

We Just Can't Ever Know

Dales memorial was Monday and it was equal parts sad and comforting.  It provided one of my favorite examples of fellowship in a non-churchy way. We spent most of the day with our friends, reminding me that these events are for the living and not necessarily for the dead. Although I do hope that somehow Dale saw that hundreds of people showed up in his honor yesterday.

Seeing our friends dressed up was really nice for a really lousy reason.  Everyone was so handsome! Our friends own suits! By the way, Canadians dress semi-formally for memorials, lots of suits and dresses.  (Us 'Mericans still looked nice but not in suits.)

The speaker addressed the suicide issue directly. It was jarring at first but comforting by the end.  He made the point of shining the light on it made it an easier burden for everyone to bear.  Also, how we have to talk about these things as humans so that the fear/pain/sadness doesn't win.  Finally, he talked about how people perceive suicide differently, either as cowardly, or desperate, or a decision of control, and that there is no right answer or perspective.

We were all struck by how often we just know a person in a certain setting or in a certain light.  In our case with Dale, it was at the racetrack. For others who knew Dale, he was an employer, or a childhood friend, or from his other hobbies (body-builder! who knew!)  It just brought into perspective how rare it is that we completely know a person; unless it's a spouse and even then there are surprises.  We were seeing many folks out-of-context instead of just at the track or track related events. We didn't know that Mig speaks Portuguese fluently until recently, for instance. No one knew that Dale was struggling as hard as he was.We can just never know everything about a person.

There was a gathering at his brothers house afterward.  We spent most of our time with him and other friends in the shop, talking cars, as would be appropriate if we were just there for a regular visit.
 If only...

Godspeed, Dale.

19 April 2014

In this episode of "You Can't Take Me Anywhere"

One of my childhood friends lost her dad the other day.  It was a farming accident so very unexpected.  He was in his late sixties so still considered young these days.  He leaves behind a teenaged grandson and a toddler grandson as well as his son & daughter.  I've known his daughter since she was twelve and I was thirteen.  We were roommates one hundred years ago.

Over time I've come to the belief that us mere humans are here until either our "jobs" are done or our presence is no longer needed.  Scoff, I know, that our presence is always needed but it's just how I see it.  Imagine a clock with all the moving gears and hands.  I imagine our lives like that: moving gears and every once in a while, everything lines up and the hands move.  Sometimes the gears line up, the hands move, and our time is finished.

Wow, that's more poetic than it sounded in my head. Totally unintentional.

Anyway, this is the first of two memorials I will be attending.  This one was at the American Legion and in my hometown.  Pretty casual yet redneck traditional. (i.e. drinks, flannel, and conduct bordering on rude if you're not redneck yet there was an Air Force Color Guard)

As I arrived, my friend's mom was greeting everyone.  She's British and kind of like a character from Absolutely Fabulous.  To give a clear picture: she says "You can hug me but don't spill my wine."  She was definitely doing the British stiff upper lip thing but was that unfiltered lady that I love.

Next came my friend.  I spotted her through the crowd and she was being hugged and manhandled by people.  I realized she probably was hating this a lot.  Not the loss of her dad because DUH but the whole having to interact with humankind part. 

Finally I reach her and we hug.  I told her that "There's nothing I can say.  There's nothing that will make this better."  I feel her start to break down so I continued "It will get better though. I promise you."  In the voice of a child I hear "No. No it won't." 

I hugged her tighter and told her "Yes, it will. It just doesn't feel like it RIGHT NOW."

Then this is where I should stop speaking but of course I didn't.  And this is where I tell you that Heidi is the one person that you can say anything to and she's totally down.

"Besides, Heid, you're part of the Dead Dad Club now.  Welcome."

I felt the weight of her head on my shoulder increase then she just started laughing.  Like loud laughing. Then I started laughing.  She straightened up, looked at me then just shook her head.  "This is why I'm here, To be irreverent and make you laugh inappropriately. My work here is done." I told her.

She just continued to laugh and shake her head. Someone approached us and she put herself in check - back into mourning mode and I moved on.

The service was nice.  The color guard procession and ceremony is always brutal.  Her elder brother, that everyone was in love with back in the day, spoke and did a wonderful job.  Heidi's son spoke and was very brave and eloquent.  Heidi said that Sam was speaking for her because "If I speak, there will be Eff Bombs."

And that's why we are still friends.

14 April 2014

Sometimes It's Okay

A text or call late at night is never good.  Kevin's phone chimed about midnight the other night and he didn't hear it.  I debated about checking it but decided that if it were an emergency, someone would phone.

It turns out that it was Kevin's BFF letting us know that another friend had died.  The next morning (5 am, which is too early for even good news) is when we found out.  Now I feel badly for not checking but really, our friend wouldn't have been any more or less dead.  But at least I could commiserate with Miguel and have some time to process.

Sadly, our friend committed suicide.  He'd been ill for almost two years and chose to take control over how he wanted his life to end.  It's heartbreaking that he was that sick and that miserable that it was a choice for him.  It's heartbreaking that he leaves his family and friends behind and bereft. 

However, I respect his choice.  He knew that he didn't want to live this way and that he didn't want to be a burden on his family.  I know that his family would rather that he didn't make this choice and I respect that too.  There is no right way, no right choice.

Regardless, we lost a friend.  They lost their husband, dad, brother, grandpa.  He lost the life he had planned for and the life he didn't plan for.  Either way: it's a tremendous loss and we are all heartbroken.

Godspeed Dale.

02 April 2014

Glimmer Part Two

It's been over a week since the Oso landslide.  The news just never gets any easier.  I will admit that I took a break from it for about 24 hours because a person can just endure so much.  As it is located just in a community I'm familiar and am one-degree away from someone whom is involved, I can only imagine that it is 100 percent more difficult for those involved.

Oddly though, it's not the pictures and stories of the lost that affects me the most.  It's the stories of support from the community.  Like I mentioned before, Rhonda has been one of the search volunteers.  She does it after working a ten-hour day and over the weekend.  She is just one of hundreds that are doing this.

It's the first responders during the press conferences.  One of them was a firefighter with my dad when I was younger.  This really is a small community...or state actually.  

It's odd  to drive through Burlington and see the reader boards reading "Oso Strong" and other messages of support.  Every store has t-shirts, decals, and other ways to give.  Facebook is full of "Oso Strong" pictures.

The kids that attend Darrington school are tasked with making sandwiches and snacks for the searchers.  They're also asked to write thank you notes or notes of support.  I thought that was a very well-thought way of letting the kids participate and process.

The search dogs are what will make me weep the quickest.  Everyone has seen the picture of the dog that is muddy & messy from the chest down.  The vets are collecting treats, toys, and blankets or towels just for the search dogs.  The dogs are being given a few days rest because they're showing signs of PTSD.  Is that just too much or what?

Finally, stories of heroism (in my opinion) are starting to leak out.  The locals that are/were searching vowed to keep silent about anyone they found or anything they saw until the families had properly been notified.  The moment of silence a week later at the exact time. The pictures of the searchers paused for a moment of respect when they've found someone.  The brothers that refused to leave until their sister was found and they indeed found her. The agencies that are stepping up to support in anyway. Catholic Community Services is paying for all the funerals, no questions asked nor faith required. The kids, oh my god, the kids.  Raising money with bake sales, donating their savings, and any other imaginable way.  As always happens it seems, the raising of the American flag that was somehow found and still somewhat intact in the rubble.

What the point of this post has absolutely nothing to do with me or how I feel though.  My point is that at the lowest of times, people step up.  People become the best version of themselves.  We've seen and heard it every day for the last ten days. It is not a cliche.

01 April 2014


Word Origin and History

Rude c.1280, "coarse, rough" (of surfaces), from L. rudis "rough, crude, unlearned," perhaps related to rudus "rubble." Sense of "ill-mannered" is from late 14c. Rudesby "insolent, unmannerly fellow" is from 1566. Rude boy (also rudie, for short) in Jamaican slang is attested from 1967. Fig. phrase rude awakening is attested from 1895.

Synonyms: abusive - blunt - boorish - coarse - crude - ignorant - impolite - insulting - intrusive - obscene - surly -
 vulgar - uncivil

Anyone who knows me knows that I am direct, clear, blunt.  A person never has to wonder what I am thinking or feeling about something. Just ask or sometimes asking isn't even necessary.  But be careful because I will tell you.  It's never meant unkindly and more often than I'm willing to admit I'm not necessarily thinking about how/what I'm saying something before the words are out of my mouth. This is why this graphic makes me giggle:

There are people who don't enjoy this personality trait.  I know, right?  Go figure.  I can appreciate that some people are more sensitive than others.  When I'm aware of someone like that I try to temper my thoughts and words accordingly.  If my words get ahead of my brain and I realize it, I will often apologize or just simply acknowledge to the person that I spoke thoughtlessly.  I do the best I can.

I looked up the definition of rude and found that it doesn't necessarily apply to me...or at least I don't believe it does, others may have differing opinions.  I looked up synonyms next and that list was a little more entertaining and informative.  There were, indeed, words that could be used to describe me from time to time.  Some of them make me a little cringy and some of them make me giggle. (I kind of love the word "surly")

Often I have found is that the people who have something to hide, are insecure, or have control issues Really Don't Appreciate It. Really. Don't. 

But I've never really worried what others think of me.  It's just never been important. 


Taking the Scenic Route

Lately I've been taking the long way to work.  The long way being defined as five minutes longer, at most. It requires taking the back road instead.  I eventually get onto I-5 but even that portion of the freeway is lovely.

Now that I've driven it a few times, I'm wondering why I haven't done this sooner.  My first guess is that I'm usually running late so it just didn't occur to me.  Also, during the winter these roads are rural and don't get any sort of sand or plowing.

Kevin has always said that he doesn't mind his commute. He turns up the radio, drinks his coffee, and chills along the way.  I've found that I am a little more relaxed when I get to work as well.  It's not such a brutal change: sitting cozy on the couch with the puppy one moment then wading into the social services insanity the next.

The other day was one of those ethereal, lovely Spring mornings so I made an effort to take pictures along the way.

Not getting on the freeway. I have a strange affection for this sign.

How pretty is this? And it's not fully Spring festooned yet.

I love how this turned out, water drops on the window and all

Another shot of the water because BEAUTIFUL

Sunbeams...after a long, hard winter these come with their own happy music

After the lake, the road travels uphill. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere.